SXSW 2017 Recap – Thursday

Things finally got going for QRO on SXSW Thursday....

SXSW 2017 Recap - Thursday

South-by-Southwest came at a difficult time in 2017. Of course, the country’s still reeling from Trump being in the White House, and you know how the music community feels about that (not to mention tighter immigration rules). More specifically to SXSW, the festival seemed to scale back this year, with some prior big sponsors either absent (Samsung, Hype Machine), less events (Vans, SPIN), or shrunk to über-exclusive private events that everyone wanted to go to and no one could (FADER Fort, Spotify House). Hell, there wasn’t even Über or Lyft this year! And on top of it all, there was a huge, late season snowstorm in the northeast on the first day of SXSW Music that kept a lot of acts (both nor’easters and those flying through) from making it to Austin on time.

Yet through it all, artists & events were able to shine through, Tuesday to Saturday, March 14th to 18th:

 

 

SXSW showcase @ Radio Day Stage

The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers

Click image for photos by Jessica Alexander

Might have missed The New Pornographers the prior night (and word was that no one was allowed to take photos anyway), but QRO caught them at the relaxed Radio Day Stage, inside the air-conditioned Austin Convention Center.

~

 

Aussie BBQ showcase @ Brush Square Park

Cameron Avery

Cameron Avery

Click image for photos by Ted Chase

Australia invaded Brush Square Park on both Thursday & Friday with Aussie BBQ. Thursday had rising indie songwriter Cameron Avery, who seemed a little pleading in his alt-rock.

~

 

Party at Rachael Ray’s Feedback House

Muuy Bienn

Muuy Bienn

Click image for photos by Ted Chase

While other sponsors pulled back, Rachael Ray did not, returning once again with her Feedback House, that included great free Kings Hawaiian & free drinks. There was also Muuy Bienn, whose more experimental punk rock definitely felt quite experimental for a daytime TV personality.

 

Modern English

Modern English

Click image for photos by Ted Chase

But fitting perfectly was Modern English. The ‘80s English New Wave band have a new album out, Take Me To the Trees, and the decidedly older fellas could have been grumpy playing a small space, but were actually way into it, with singer Robbie Grey exuberant throughout.

Yes, they closed with hit “I Melt With You”, yes, the crowd sang along (after Grey indicated when to start), and yes, it was wonderful.

~

 

SXSW showcase @ SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake

Ozomatli

Ozomatli

Click image for photos by Jessica Alexander

 

The biggest official SXSW performances are often at the Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake, overlooking the lake/river. For Thursday, the Outdoor Stage brought the alt-Latin flare with Residente and Ozomatli.

 

Residente

Residente

Click image for photos by Jessica Alexander

~

 

StubHub showcase @ Banger’s

Electric Guest

Electric Guest

Click image for photos by Ted Chase

Going into SXSW, there are new bands to catch, and ones that you’ve only heard of, who you should really see to know what they are. Electric Guest was very much the latter, as if you only knew their name, would have thought that they were just another too-popular “Electric” band, all party and synthesizers. Instead, there was a definite uncertainty to their music that made it much more interesting.

Also, props for being fronted by their shortest member, Asa Taccone, even if he kneeled too often when singing. He thanked the crowd, admitting that audiences at SXSW can be a crapshoot.

 

Banks

Banks

Click image for photos by Ted Chase

Another very interesting artist that you have to judge live was Banks. How many other artists have dancers with shawls covering their upper body. While the moody singer set a different tone than Electric Guest, that specter of darkness remained, showing that the dark is still very popular in popular music.

~

 

Other notes:

-When your correspondent picked up his credentials, had to set credential people straight when they seemed to think he was just lazily arriving late to the festival…

 

Unfortunately missed:

-Willie Nelson & Family @ Luck, TX Ranch.

-Spiral Stairs @ Waterloo Records, 4:00 PM. Pavement’s Scott Kannenberg, a.k.a. Spiral Stairs, came to SXSW behind his new upbeat record, Doris & The Daggers (QRO review).

-Hannibal Buress @ Trinity Hall.

-Lil Wayne & Friends @ Stubb’s, 12:15 AM.

-Beach Slang @ Cheer Up Charlie’s, 1:00 AM.

-Spoon @ The Main, 1:00 AM. Final night of Spoon at The Main was of course impossible to get into.

 

Categories
Concert Reviews